In first grade, my teacher Mrs. Iverson showed us how to make May Day baskets from pink and yellow construction paper. We drew ivy and flowers on the paper baskets with our thick crayons before going up one-by-one to our teacher’s desk to get the handle stapled on.
On the way home from school, we walked together picking dandelions and soft lavender-colored clover to fill our baskets. The more daring kids picked pansies or snap dragons from a neighbor’s yard to add to their construction paper baskets.
We took turns “May Daying” the neighbors.
I climbed the steps to Mrs. Fixie’s front door. She was the grandmotherly lady with the neat white bun on top of her head who often gave me home-made oatmeal cookies.
I hung the basket on her doorknob. Then, I rang her doorbell and ran as far as my first-grade legs would take me. I hid behind a hedge and watched her open the front door and scan the neighborhood.
Then, she looked at her doorknob at the paper basket filled with flowering weeds. A big smile broke across her face.
“Happy May Day!” I yelled jumping up behind the shrubs.
Where did this fun tradition begin? But, more importantly, where did it go?
Do your kids make May Day baskets in school? Do they surprise your elderly neighbors with baskets of flowers and sunshine on May 1st?
My mom is in an assisted living home three states away. She usually gets a delivery from FTD of a little basket of flowers. The card reads “Happy May Day! Love, ?”
She’d call to thank me and I’d say, “I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about!”
“Really? I could have sworn it was you! I wonder who sent me these flowers?”
That’s how we’ve kept our May Day tradition alive. My son sometimes remembers to text me flower emojis to wish me “Happy May Day.” While my daughter was home, she’d pick bougainvillea, snap dragons and roses from our back yard and pound on the door after school and her swim meet.
I’d run outside and won’t be able to contain the smile on my face as I race around the yard trying to catch her.
This is year I’m skipping my mom’s May Day basket. I’m going in person next week and will deliver it to her in person.
Happy May Day, everyone! How do you celebrate May Day? Do your kids make baskets?